Call Ft. Hood attack an act of terror
By STEVE HUNTLEY September 2, 2013 7:36PM
Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others. | Bell County Sheriff's Department via AP
Updated: October 4, 2013 6:10AM
Now that justice has been delivered to Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan and he’s facing execution, it’s time for the Obama administration to deliver justice to the victims of his wretched crime.
That means ending the shameful fiction that Hasan’s 2009 killing of 13 people and wounding 32 more — which began with him shouting “Allahu Akbar” — was an act of “workplace violence.” That designation by the administration deprived survivors of medical and other benefits and the Purple Heart award available for combat-related injuries and deaths. Meanwhile, Hasan collected $300,000 in pay awaiting trial.
The only justification we ever heard from the Defense Department for the workplace violence nonsense was that designating the attack where Hasan opened fire inside a medical service facility as terrorism would somehow “compromise the fairness and due process” of the on-going court martial proceedings.
No such qualms about the terror label emerged between the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 680, and the 1997 conviction of Timothy McVeigh. No worry surfaced about the prejudicial impact of a terrorism branding on the prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombing in April that killed three people and injured 264 others.
Another defense of the workplace designation was that Hasan had self-radicalized and had no known co-conspirators. That seems to apply to Tsarnaev and his brother, killed after the Boston bombing, but no one has a problem calling the marathon outrage what it was — a terrorist attack.
From the beginning the evidence that Hasan was a terrorist was clear. It wasn’t just his shout of the standard Islamist terrorist announcement of death to come. It was soon revealed that Hasan had been in email contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, a promoter, propagandist and conspirator for terrorism so notorious and dangerous that President Barack Obama ordered him killed with a 2011 drone strike.
More damning were revelations that Hasan had made no secret of his radicalization, his belief that America was making war on Muslims and his growing hostility to his country. Yet the Army and other authorities had ignored the warning signs out of a heightened sensitivity to all things Islam. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that this political correctness gone wild had something to do with the Obama administration’s ludicrous decision to designate the attack as workplace violence. Recall how the administration bent over backward to characterize the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans last year as a spontaneous protest against a YouTube video.
Three Texas lawmakers plan to introduce legislation in Congress to overturn the workplace-violence insult to common sense. A previous effort failed, for lack of Democrat votes. Congressional action shouldn’t be needed. Now that Hasan’s guilty verdict has been adjudicated, the administration should do the right thing for the victims and declare the 2009 Fort Hood atrocity what it was — an act of terrorism.